Saginaw — Local and federal authorities searched by horseback and air this week and have set traps as part of an effort to capture a pack of dogs running wild in the area.
The pack, which has been seen in a Saginaw neighborhood, last Saturday attacked a 65-pound dog that died from its injuries, The Saginaw News reported (http://bit.ly/1mWjWjB ). The pack is believed to include seven to 12 dogs, including two adults, the sheriff’s department said.
Sheriff’s Lt. Randy Pfau said the dogs weren’t found during a hunt Wednesday, but tracks and interviews with area residents suggest the animals were there recently.
“School is out,” Saginaw County Sheriff William Federspiel said. “For those who wonder why we’re putting so much after this, it is a huge public safety concern. The motive of these dogs is to eat, and to kill whatever they think they can, which could be a child, which could be an elderly person.”
As a plane buzzed through the air above the search party, deputies in cowboy hats, with spurs attached to cowboy boots, took up vantage points. The group is known as the Saginaw County Sheriff’s Posse and offers more versatility than a motorized ground search.
“A motor can startle them,” said Lt. Stephen Gromak, commander of the posse. “But an animal is likely to walk up closer to another animal. We can also go up and down hills and through trees and brush.”
The area, near the Green Point Nature Center, was home to the Saginaw Malleable Iron Plant before the structure was razed in 2010. Authorities joined the search to assist Saginaw County Animal Control and they suspect the dogs have made their home in the area.
The sheriff said he might talk to the state police about using its thermal-imaging helicopter to hunt for the dogs at night.
“It detects the heat of an individual, usually for humans,” Federspiel said.
Elaine Thompson, interim director for Saginaw County Animal Control, said the dogs may have adapted to their surroundings and are now raising young.
“Probably someone abandoned them instead of bringing them to a shelter,” Thompson said. “They learned to survive off small game and the water.”